Comparing UX Research Methods

John Hu
Meta Research
2 min readJul 11, 2019


Feeling anxious about moving out of your methodology comfort zone? This quick chart can help.

UX researchers come from a wide range of academic backgrounds. But opportunities to learn, practice, and become fluent in new research methods can be scarce.

Meanwhile, the ability to choose and use the most appropriate research method(s) for different research questions is essential to our success and career growth. In fact, job candidates are often first screened for their ability to select the best method or combination of methods to address given research scenarios.

We don’t know what we don’t know. The risk is that inexperienced researchers may unknowingly “get by” without a rich palette of methods as long as they maintain the trust of their cross-functional partners. Limited awareness of different research methods can also discourage those partners — and even other UX folks — from participating in research sessions.

With all that in mind, I led the effort to create a matrix that captures some popular methods — not all methods — used by Facebook UX researchers. It’s a quick overview of the strengths, weaknesses, and common mistakes or misconceptions of popular methods.

Who should use this matrix?

  • People who are newer to qualitative research: Research interns, junior researchers, and quant researchers who intend to venture into qual research
  • Partners of researchers including designers, content strategists, product managers, product marketing managers, data scientists, engineers, and research/design program managers
  • Any researcher who may benefit from a quick methodology refresher
With major contributions from Donna Tedesco, Kathleen Stanko, Alex McEvoy, and Kevin Smith.

Author: John Hu, UX Researcher at Facebook.

Banner Illustrator: Sarah Lawrence